CDC-Funded Effort Educates Hispanics on Cancer

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Of all the cancers, breast cancer is the primary killer of Latino women in the US, while colorectal cancer is the second most common among men and women. Yet, survival rates improve dramatically with early detection, which is why the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has launched a four-market campaign to educate Hispanics about the prevention and early detection of breast and colorectal cancers.

"Poor health outcomes, unfortunately, are a common reality in the Hispanic community," said Maite Arce, president of HAF. "Whether it's the lack of having a primary doctor or access to health care in general, through education we can empower Latinos to become advocates for their health."

Titled "Together We Can Defeat Cancer" and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the effort will include dozens of free educational workshops, a PSA campaign and toll-free helpline to connect Hispanics to the resources they need. The campaign focuses on Latinos in New York, Rio Grande Valley, Houston, and Miami.

The main purpose is to emphasize that women over 40 years of age should be screened for breast cancer regularly, while both men and women over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. Not all screenings are cost prohibitive and in some cases even the uninsured can receive screenings, but early detection leads to improved survival rates for most everyone.

"With the Hispanic population projected to nearly double by 2050, the immediate need to address the knowledge and behaviors within this community is paramount," said Anita McFarlane, MPH, Director of Grants and Public Policy at the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. "This project will help us increase the understanding of preventive health care within the Hispanic community and put them on the path to greater health outcomes."

HAF prides itself on its ability as a connector that helps remove barriers and link Hispanics to existing resources. Throughout this project, HAF will be collaborating with several local partners that offer expertise and services, which helps avoid a duplication of efforts and strengthen the overall outreach.

Key partners in this initiative include the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the New York Hospital Queens, University of Texas School of Public Health, Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center, lay health educators and other nonprofit organizations. For a list of dates and locations of workshops or for more information regarding early detection and this campaign, visit hispanicaccess.org.